Rating the Rumor: Eagles 'In on' Alshon Jeffery

Rating the Rumor: Eagles 'In on' Alshon Jeffery

Ian Rapoport for the NFL Network reports the Chicago Bears are not expected to place the franchise tag on free-agent wide receiver Alshon Jeffery before the March 1 deadline. Meanwhile, league sources previously told Jason La Canfora for CBS Sports that they “anticipate” the Eagles “being in on” Jeffery should the 2013 Pro Bowler become accessible.

Put two and two together, and there are folks around the NFL who believe the Eagles will pursue Jeffery when free agency opens on March 9.

Yet while receiver is one of the Eagles’ two greatest needs this offseason, whether they should make a run at Jeffery and whether they can afford him might be two different answers. Getting another weapon for Carson Wentz seems like it will be the top priority in free agency, but doing so will not be cheap, and the club is up against the salary cap.

There’s little doubt the Eagles will reach out to Jeffery. Aside from the organization being known for always doing its due diligence with players, the 27-year-old is hands down the best option on the market. Over the 2013 and ’14 seasons, Jeffery averaged 87 receptions, 1,277 yards and 8.5 touchdowns per year. He’s dealt with injuries and a terrible supporting cast in the two years since, yet still managed to go over 800 yards receiving in each.

Jeffery has some baggage, specifically the four-game suspension for violation of the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy in 2016. Despite everything, only nine active players are averaging more than his 72.2 yards per game, and only 10 better than 15.0 yards per reception. The talent is undeniable, and with a quarterback of Wentz’s caliber throwing him the football, the sky is the limit.

The Eagles absolutely should pursue Jeffery. Actually signing him is where this begins to get tricky.

For starters, the Eagles are currently sitting at an estimated $8.69 million under the cap, according to OverTheCap.com. Only three teams are in worse shape. There may be more moves to free up space in the coming days, which will help, although even if they get that figure closer to $25 million through a series of trades and releases, the numbers are tight.

Jeffery collected $14.6 million under the franchise tag in ’16, and while he might not see quite that much annually on his next contract, it’s not out of line with expectations. Antonio Brown, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas and Dez Bryant are all making $14 million or more per season. Jeffery may not have the body of work of those players, but as the top receiver available, the market will value him and be willing to pay as such.

That $25 million the Eagles can theoretically free up might be the best case scenario. It likely won’t be that, which means signing Jeffery would take up practically all of their cap space for ’17. Obviously, there are ways to structure a contract to push money into future years, and the case could be made the Eagles don’t need to sign any other free agents.

No matter how you slice it, there are some logistical concerns here. Until the Eagles shed some of those contracts and we can see what they’re working with, it’s difficult to envision how they win a bidding war against suitors with upwards of $50, $60, even $70 million to spend.

It’s not so much a question of interest for the Eagles. It’s whether or not signing Jeffery is realistic in the first place.

Rating the Rumor: We’ll see

Two Eagles favorites to announce draft picks on Day 2

Two Eagles favorites to announce draft picks on Day 2

The Eagles will have two fan favorites announcing a couple of their picks Friday at the draft from the Ben Franklin Parkway.

Former quarterback Ron Jaworski will announce the Eagles' second-round pick. And long snapper Jon Dorenbos will announce the team's third-round pick. Dorenbos was selected because he was the Eagles' nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. 

If anyone can turn a third-round pick into a first, it's gotta be Dorenbos, right? 

On Thursday, when commissioner Roger Goodell announces the Eagles' pick, he'll be joined by players from Martin Luther King High School in Philadelphia. 

Accompanying Jaws on stage Friday will be the wife and son of U.S. Army 1st Lt. Demetrius Frison, who lost his life in combat in Afghanistan in 2011. Frison was a Philadelphia native and an Eagles fan. 

Accompanying Dorenbos on stage will be the Central Bucks West High School football team. They will be there to honor legendary high school football coach Mike Pettine Sr., who died in February. 

On the third day of the draft, a couple of celebrity super fans will get to announce picks. Actor Morris Chestnut and CNBC's Jim Cramer will do the honors. 

Freddie Mitchell was not happy being listed among worst Eagles draft picks

Freddie Mitchell was not happy being listed among worst Eagles draft picks

If you're not keeping up with the current whereabouts of the former People's Champ, Freddie Mitchell seems to spend quite a bit of his post-playing days responding to people on Instagram.

Today was one of those days.

You see, our pal Reuben Frank penned a piece today looking at the best and worst of the Eagles' drafts by position over the years and FredEx's name popped up as one of the worst receiver picks in recent years. Nelson Aghalor got lucky.

Here's what Roob wrote about bad WR picks:

Worst: Freddie Mitchell, 1st round, 2001
Now, this is a tough call. Mike Bellamy was a second-round pick in 1990 and never caught a pass. Kenny Jackson was the fourth pick overall in 1984 and averaged 15 catches per season as a pro. Nelson Agholor has been a massive disappointment. There was Reggie Brown in the second round in 2005, third-round failures Josh Huff, Chris T. Jones and Billy McMullen. Plenty of guys to choose from. But it has to be Freddie Mitchell, mainly because of who the Eagles bypassed to take him. On the board when the Eagles picked at No. 25 in 2001: Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith, Chad Johnson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Chris Chambers, for starters. Those five combined for 4,034 catches, 55,020 yards, 336 touchdown catches and 19 Pro Bowls. Freddie? He finished with 90 catches, 1,263 yards and five TDs.

Freddie found the post on social media and voiced his displeasure. 

"I mean, why would they post such a negative question on here?," Freddie wrote, finding a question somewhere where there didn't seem to be one. "That's the problem, negative energy only brings negative things to the city. You change the way you think and be positive you make Philadelphia great again. All the players busted their asses to make the Eagles great."

So if I'm following, the negative energy among the media in Philly is making the Eagles bad.

Got it.